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Last post Author Topic: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon  (Read 21227 times)

nosh

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To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« on: April 05, 2007, 01:55:08 AM »
I recently upgraded my mother's PC to Office 2007. She's not exactly a savvy user but was somewhat familiar with the older MSO interface and was completely lost. I had to keep listening to her complain till I relented and rolled it back to Office 2003.

Funny thing is, after I did I actually found myself envying her! I'm not a regular Office user and I've found myself fumbling on several occasions trying to perform what would have been complete no-brainer tasks on older Office versions. I miss the old menu-toolbar interface that I spent years getting familiar with and I completely HATE the ribbon. It's like MS swept the carpet from under my feet.

The only reason I haven't gone back to Office 2003 is coz I'm assuming the ribbon is here to stay and since I have made the leap I may as well stick with it so I can get used to it. Is there any news regarding future versions of Office? Do people actually like this monstrosity? At the very least they could have given us a swappable interface so people who were not comfortable with the ribbon weren't forced to use it. This seems more like a carefully calculated decision made by the finance department at MS rather than the technical one. What do those of you who've tried the ribbon interface feel?

lanux128

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2007, 02:18:39 AM »
there have been some discussions about that here in DC.. i'm like you, going to make peace with the ribbon, when i start using Office 2007 (eventually).. ;)

here are threads:
Ribbon vs. Toolbar, round 2
Will you upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007?
Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!


Ampa

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2007, 08:50:42 AM »
I am a very light user of Office - occasional dips into Word (mostly for letters) and Excel for the most basic of tables, and spreadsheets - and I actually like the ribbon!

Most things do seem to be readily accessible with only a click or two, and I like that fact that I can see it, rather than knowing that there probably is an option to do task X, if only I knew which menu it was buried in.

Ampa

lanux128

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2007, 09:09:42 PM »
over the weekend, i have been trying out Office2007 at a friend's laptop and the new fonts - Calibri, Cambria & etc. - looked quite cool with ClearType on.. so i was wondering where to get the "Calibri" font, is it available separately on Microsoft's website.. does anyone knows anything about its availability?

Josh

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2007, 03:11:16 AM »
Here you go.


JeffK

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2007, 04:59:38 AM »
FWIW, I think the ribbon is great, especially in Excel.  I use Excel, and to a lesser extent, Word, quit e a bit at work and I can't wait until my employer changes over from MS Office 2003 to 2007. 

I notice that Publisher 2007 does not have the ribbon.

Jeff

nosh

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2007, 06:17:11 AM »
I rolled back to Office 2003 and feel relieved. To each their own I guess. Just hope MS gives people like me an option to use the old interface in future versions so everyone can be happy.

I'd even consider Open Office in the future but I've heard that it's really sluggish as of now. Office 2003 feels so light and I didn't have any complaints regarding the speed of Office 2007 either.

lanux128

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2007, 08:34:16 PM »
thanks Josh.. :up:

MrCrispy

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2007, 09:23:43 PM »
I love the ribbon. It takes some getting used to, but once you get over that, it really make sa lot more sense. You can't argue for an interface with menus nested 5 levels deep and hundreds of tabbed dialog boxes just because its familiar!

Install these - http://www.microsoft...n&DisplayLang=en

They add a 'Get started' tab that links to online video tutorials as well as help for users of earlier Office versions.

AndyM

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2007, 09:52:45 PM »
You can't argue for an interface with menus nested 5 levels deep and hundreds of tabbed dialog boxes just because its familiar!

What you can argue with is the discontinuation of all the customizations that have been possible in Office up until now.  Sure, the ribbon might be nice for people who don't use most of the features available, but what's been good until now is that one can customize the interface to suit one's needs, using those features relevant to the work at hand.  This has made me fast and productive.  Why would I want to change to an interface that no longer allowed that?

lanux128

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2007, 09:53:49 PM »
i don't have Office2007 installed yet but i'm curious about the ribbon since there's been so much talk about it. my experience, the more i use it the more its usability shines.. ok, once in a while there will be moments like "where is that command?" but if you use pre-Office2007 keyboard shortcuts, there is a prompt that guides you into continuing the shortcut combo.. :up:

MrCrispy, do you have the link to the video tutorials?

zridling

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2007, 11:50:27 PM »
I agree with JeffK that the ribbon in Excel is more helpful than Word. I truly hate the ribbon and during beta testing many of us begged and begged for more options, viz., that the huge ribbon be allowed to be docked on the side of the screen. That makes sense since most new monitors are what — widescreen! But the Microsoft Office team ignored most of our requests, and after a while we felt like we were talking to the wall. Their justification was to make it easier by REDUCING options, not increasing them. Thus the deemphasis of keyboard shortcuts. In many instances, they even added an extra key within every keyboard shortcut, which was insane to anyone who can type with both hands.

And don't get me started on backward compatibility. The MS-OOXML file format is compatible only with itself. Ironically, if you want complete compatibility with legacy Microsoft documents, along with the absense of any ribbonage, OpenOffice is the place to be, along with its fidelity to be both .doc and OASIS OpenDocument (ODF) format. One of the things the OpenOffice are considering for version 3.0 is the ability to dock toolbars on the side, and then you have something that increases your document space on a widescreen monitor instantly: a sidebar!

It's really not rocket science, but Microsoft must have gotten its usability advice from monkeys on crack for both Vista and Office 2007.

nosh

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2007, 02:47:29 AM »
There's a trend with MS to go the "we know what's good for you and you don't really get to decide" way. A prime example is the way Windows is heading. I'd compare it to taking away a manual gear shift car and replacing it with an automatic transmission. While this pleases the masses, it's especially hard for those who have mastered the manual shift and miss that edge & freedom in performance. You aren't likely to see Schumi racing an automatic.  :P

MrCrispy

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2007, 06:17:26 PM »
Thats funny, because guess what, Schumi does race in an automatic !! F1 cars don't have a stick shift, they ahve paddle shifters that control an auto transmission, except it doesn't have a torque converter but is a manual gear linkage with an electronic clutch. There is no way a manual transmission can ever match its performance, response time and reliability.

The same trend can be seen in many high end performance cars and is trickling down slowly. Look at BMW's SMG, Audi's DSG, the various variants of CVT etc. The old manual tranny is a an old fossil whose time has gone!

Its pretty ironic that Windows and Office are becoming more and more Mac-like (the emphasis on glossy, lickable UI's, lack of options and customizability) while the Mac moved towards the other end (being based on BSD) with OSX.

AndyM

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2007, 12:36:27 AM »
ok, once in a while there will be moments like "where is that command?" but if you use pre-Office2007 keyboard shortcuts, there is a prompt that guides you into continuing the shortcut combo.. :up:

What about custom toolbars, buttons, and customized menus?

Hirudin

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2007, 07:11:43 AM »
I'm not an office user and hopefully never will be (OOo for ever yo!). But whenever user interfaces and keyboard shortcuts are being talked about I always think of the 3 CAD/Modeling programs I was using for a while.

Rhino is pretty traditional at first, except it uses the right click button extensively. It's interface is completely customizable, you can control what each button does (both left and right clicking), if it has a sub menu, what the button looks like, how big they are, create/delete buttons and sub menus, put them anywhere, etc. It's awesome! Oh yeah, the keyboard shortcuts are customizable too. You can jump right in, or customize the crap out of it if you want. Every program should be exactly like Rhino3D!

Maya forces you to have a 3 button mouse (you can't use Maya without it) and you must have your left hand on the Ctrl, Shift, and Alt keys at all times (again, these keys are used constantly). The keyboard/mouse button combos are confusing and not intuitive (IMO at least). It's possible it's customizable, but I doubt many people do.

Last is Lightwave3D. They took all the UI conventions and threw them out the window. The thing is, they did an amazing job! Undo was changed from Ctrl+Z to just U, Redo was changed to Shift+U. Revolutionary stuff! The learning curve was high, but once you got it it's gravy. Everything was customizable, but to do so would take forever...

Sorry to talk about non-ribbon programs so much... I guess what I'm trying to say is, from what y'all have said, it sounds like MS might have something that actually works better but is going to be harder to learn in the long run. I'd stick it out.


I thought the same thing when I heard you can't put the ribbon on the side: Um, hi idiots, widescreen monitors are in in a big way. That big thing on the top is going to force people to write in an anamorphic workspace. Which, appropriately will make the font look like it does in the movies... 56pts.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2007, 07:15:25 AM by Hirudin »

AndyM

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2007, 09:02:38 AM »
it sounds like MS might have something that actually works better but is going to be harder to learn in the long run.

As I said, the ribbon may be fine, may even be a better interface, but what does that have to do with taking away the ability to easily customize the interface?

CWuestefeld

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2007, 01:02:50 PM »
the ribbon may be fine, may even be a better interface, but what does that have to do with taking away the ability to easily customize the interface?

They have not taken away the ability to customize, although that capability is radically changed. There's an element of it that's far easier, but doesn't go very far, and an element that allows wholesale changes of almost anything.

The easy method is via the quick-access toolbar. Customization here is limited to choosing your favorite few items, which are then available as small icons at the very top of the window.

The second method requires manipulating XML files that describe the content of the ribbon, and probably not appropriate for anything less than an extreme power user. For your convenience, here are a few links on the topic:

AndyM

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2007, 01:35:54 PM »
Quote
The second method requires manipulating XML files that describe the content of the ribbon, and probably not appropriate for anything less than an extreme power user.

And that's exactly the nature of my complaint.  Right now I can assign any vba code to any button on any toolbar, or key combination, or modify any menu, generally on the fly.

Now I'd have to edit XML files.  For the moment, fortunately there's no reason for me to upgrade.

nosh

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2007, 12:03:32 PM »
Thats funny, because guess what, Schumi does race in an automatic !! F1 cars don't have a stick shift, they ahve paddle shifters that control an auto transmission, except it doesn't have a torque converter but is a manual gear linkage with an electronic clutch. There is no way a manual transmission can ever match its performance, response time and reliability.

Well technically, the transmission is semi-automatic.
http://en.wikipedia....F1_cars#Transmission

And the driver does initiate gear changes. Meet me halfway here, Angelina!

mwb1100

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2007, 02:35:17 PM »
I haven't even installed any part of Office 2007, but for those of you who want 2007 but long for the old UI, this bit of software may help ($30):

http://www.addintool...nuoffice/default.htm

I got the link from http://www.larkware.com, who's one-liner for this was, "A third-party fix for the Office 2007 UI disaster".

Carol Haynes

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2007, 05:20:49 PM »
I haven't even installed any part of Office 2007, but for those of you who want 2007 but long for the old UI, this bit of software may help ($30):

http://www.addintool...nuoffice/default.htm

I got the link from http://www.larkware.com, who's one-liner for this was, "A third-party fix for the Office 2007 UI disaster".


I love it  - a third party add-in to remove all the changes (pretty much) that are in Office 2007.

Question - why not simply stick with Office 97 / 2000 / 2003 in the first place.

AFAICS the only changes for 2007 are the UI, a few new corporate client tools and non-standard file formats ??? Unless you want the 'ribbon' interface is there any real point in upgrading unless you want some of the specific corporate mode changes?

lanux128

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2007, 08:37:44 PM »
I found out another trick, by pressing Ctrl+F1 one can minimize the ribbon.. to make it appear temporarily, just do a mouse-over on the menu-item.. (will also work with keyboard alt accelerators)

also, check out CyberNet News.. they have very good write-ups, tips & guides on Office2007. one of which is: Office 2003 and Office 2007 Toolbar/Ribbon Size Comparison.



zridling

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2007, 01:27:54 AM »
I wrote about this last August and made a direct side-by-side visual comparison of both toolbars. Microsoft still denied it, but I've no idea what they were looking at. The other thing is that you cannot customize the ribbon unlike the old toolbars. That's just totally a kick in the onions.


CWuestefeld

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Re: To cut or not to cut - The lousy MS Office ribbon
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2007, 05:24:27 AM »
The other thing is that you cannot customize the ribbon unlike the old toolbars.
Why do people keep saying this? Right up above in this same thread I debunked this: http://www.donationc...91.msg57106#msg57106